The Right’s New Lie About Its Shutdown Intentions
If Ted Cruz is making John Boehner dance like a marionette, then Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., is the guy helping Cruz keep the strings untangled.
He’s the author of the House’s version of the famous letter insisting that Republicans make funding the government contingent upon gutting Obamacare. He didn’t, and won’t get Obamacare defunded. But the signatories to that letter are a decent proxy for the group of hard-line Republicans who are holding Boehner’s speakership over his head and thus making the country ungovernable.
So it was a big surprise when he told reporters on Tuesday that, really, the government shutdown has nothing to do with Obamacare.
“This fight now has become about veterans and about national guard folks that perhaps — reservists that are not getting paid,” he said. “That’s where the fight is today. Obamacare is mandatory spending that’s going on.”
Well, that’s great news! If the government shutdown fight isn’t about Obamacare anymore, then opening the government back up should be a cinch. Could be done in a matter of minutes.
But Republicans have no intention of opening the whole government back up. That’s why they spent all of Wednesday passing bills to reopen its narrowest but most visible and high-valence offices. Meadows was clumsily undertaking an act of subterfuge that has united the whole party. An attempt to distract the public and the press from the totem that’s been at the center of the shutdown from the get-go. Unbeknownst to him, Meadows was also challenging the press not to allow itself to get bamboozled by these distractions.
When NPR’s Tamara Keith asked the obvious follow-up — if it’s not about Obamacare anymore, why not pass a complete funding bill? — Meadows devolved into gibberish and scurried away.